This weekend Seth Rogen does just a little bit of growing up in the fantastic comedy Neighbors (read my glowing review right here), directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Thankfully, Rogen had some time to sit down and talk about being the guy that everyone wants to smoke weed with and how that effects his maturing on the big screen at 32 years old. Our chat mostly focuses on comedy on the big screen in general, but we also dive into working with Zac Efron on an improvisation heavy set, the staying power of Christopher Mintz-Plasse after being discovered for Superbad, James Franco staring in all of his movies, and how PG-13 comedy just doesn't work for him and collaborative partner Evan Goldberg.
All he said is, "I want to change the world." One of the year's must-see documentaries is Jodorowsky's Dune, profiling the Chilean filmmaker and his ambitious attempt to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune in the 70s. Jodorowsky amassed one of the most insane casts ever: Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine and Mick Jagger of all people. This outstanding documentary, directed by Frank Pavich of the music doc N.Y.H.C. previously, debuted at last year's Cannes Film Festival where I first caught it and fell in love with it. I finally spoke with Pavich over the phone in March for a fun discussion on this excellent doc.
Now in theaters is the incredibly brutal, extremely awesome Indonesian martial arts sequel The Raid 2, which picks up immediately where The Raid left off, with Rama (played by Iko Uwais) returning to take on more corrupt businessmen and mobsters. The man behind this successful genre series is Gareth Evans, a Welsh filmmaker who has found his home in Indonesia making martial arts movies (yes, we even talk about this). I've been looking forward to chatting with Evans ever since The Raid 1, but was lucky enough to catch up with him for a full-on 20 minute video interview about action movies and The Raid 2 a few weeks ago.
He's a one-of-a-kind filmmaker and artist, known and beloved for his quirks and style, and a genuinely interesting person to talk with. In theaters this weekend is the eighth film from Wes Anderson, known for an impressive oeuvre of work so far, from Rushmore to The Royal Tenenbaums to The Life Aquatic to The Darjeeling Limited to Fantastic Mr. Fox to Moonrise Kingdom. His latest is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I was lucky enough to catch at the Berlin Film Festival world premiere (my review) a few weeks ago. I met up with Wes in New York recently to chat about the film, his career, Hollywood, and a few other things. It was an odd interview, to say the least, not exactly how I expected it to go, but fascinating none-the-less.
One of our favorite films from Fantastic Fest 2013 was E.L. Katz's Cheap Thrills (Jeremy's review). The film is visceral, hilarious and painfully dark at times, but boy do we love it. In Austin last year we had the chance to sit down with director Evan "E.L." Katz and star Pat Healy along with guests Ethan Embry and David Koechner to chat about what makes Cheap Thrills such a special little flick. We went over some of the themes of the film with Evan, talked through the process of building suspense while maintaining tone, and got into the grit of the relationships. Listen to the full-on 30-minute TGB interview from Fantastic Fest.
After much anticipation, audiences are finally getting their taste of Ben Wheatley’s twisted mind-trip thriller A Field in England, available on VOD and limited theatrical release in the US from Drafthouse Films. Jeremy and I however, saw the film at this past year's Fantastic Fest and had the opportunity to sit down and chat with co-writer/director Ben Wheatley about the film. We discuss some of his directorial choices in A Field in England, working with his select group of actors and even delve into a few amusing but less mature topics as we went on. Listen to the full 12-minute recorded TGB interview from Fantastic Fest below.
"The whole creative experience is much more fulfilling as a director." He's a world famous actor, a beloved comedian, a director, a writer, a producer. The latest movie from Ben Stiller is a contemporary take on James Thurber's short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Stiller as a humble photo editor who dreams of an exciting life with his crush. Joey Magidson fell in love with the film at the New York Film Festival; I wasn't the biggest fan myself, but it is enjoyable. Fox invited me to sit down for a 10 minute chat with Ben Stiller, and I chose to focus on asking him about being a filmmaker more than an actor/comedian.
Bard. Zeus. Aramis. Apollo. Shaw. Welsh actor Luke Evans seems to play characters that often have short names, but powerful voices. He's on the rise recently and will break out big with his latest role as Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. He didn't even get the job until halfway through shooting the first movie, then went down to New Zealand for a year and a half of filming, now he's about to go down in history as Lake-town's savior. I first met and interviewed Luke back in 2011 discussing Immortals, and I followed up with him for another interview this year about Bard, The Hobbit, Dracula, The Crow and more.
I always enjoy getting to talk to members of this industry, specifically the rare times when a veteran actor is made available, but every so often you just get blown away by someone. It doesn't happen too often, but last week it happened when I got the chance to speak to Bruce Dern at Paramount's offices in New York City. Obviously, the interview opportunity came about because of Nebraska, which begins its theatrical run this week, but honestly, wouldn't you use any excuse to talk to a legend like Dern? The man didn't disappoint, as he told some incredible stories (including a few about Alfred Hitchcock!), and paid me a rather stunning compliment. All-in-all it's one of the best interviews and most memorable film-related moments of my life.
"This is the big one that I wanted to do." Now showing in theaters everywhere is the film About Time, the third film (following Love Actually and Pirate Radio) directed by screenwriter/filmmaker Richard Curtis who resides in England. I've thoroughly enjoyed his past scripts and have immense appreciation for About Time, and was lucky enough to catch up with Richard a few weeks ago for an interview about his latest film starring Domhnall Gleeson & Rachel McAdams. While there is a time travel element to it, our chat covered casting, writing & time travel as well as rumors that this is the last film he'll be directing anyway. Read on!
Never give up. At the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year I caught two different screenings of a film that amazed me and left me floored both times I saw it - All is Lost, the second feature from writer & director J.C. Chandor. I first met J.C. at Sundance in early 2012 at the party for his first film, Margin Call, which premiered at the festival and went on to earn an Oscar nomination. He's back again this year with All is Lost, a film which stars Robert Redford and only Robert Redford, with only a handful of lines of dialogue, taking place entirely on a sailboat lost at sea. It's a beautiful film and I had plenty to ask J.C. Chandor about.
"Pure cinema is its own language." It's time to experience Gravity. After years of waiting, years of anticipation, it's finally arriving in theaters. The man behind this exhilarating experience is none other than Alfonso Cuarón, the talented Mexican filmmaker behind A Little Princess, Y Tu Mamá También, Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men. I have been a big fan of Cuarón for many years and have been waiting to meet him and interview him and I finally got the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only is he an incredibly nice, very humble filmmaker, but he spoke openly about many different topics, from sci-fi to cinema to spectacle.
"I don't want to survive... I want to live." Portraying the true story of Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's newest film 12 Years a Slave, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers an extraordinarily powerful, nuanced, emotional, and brutal yet heartfelt performance, one of the finest seen on screen this year. Chiwetel is yet another British actor with a unique name that many cinephiles have come to love, thanks to a diverse career with highlights including Dirty Pretty Things, Serenity, Kinky Boots, Children of Men, American Gangster, Redbelt and 2012 recently. I first met Chiwetel back in 2008 for an interview about Redbelt, and was lucky to catch up with him again in 2013 for a chat about playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave. Read on.
"If everyone decides you're not a person, you aren't, in a way." One of my favorite films that I saw at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival is The Double, the second feature from comedian-actor-filmmaker Richard Ayoade. I fell in love with his first film, Submarine (watch it on Netflix!), back at TIFF in 2010 and was lucky enough to catch the world premiere of The Double at TIFF this year. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, Jesse Eisenberg stars as a timid worker whose life is thrown into disarray when his doppelganger shows up. I met up with Richard Ayoade in Toronto for a good chat about The Double recorded on Flipcam.